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3 Core Principles of Great Leadership

Being a great leader isn't about big words. It's about real action.

A good leader makes inspiring speeches and has exciting ideas. But a great leader takes action.

Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways and founder of Peterson Partners and Peterson Ventures, wrote a post on LinkedIn outlining the importance of a leader's deeds, not words. Here are three of the management principles he lives by as a leader.

Act out your mission.

Peterson says that successful companies act out their mission statement every day. Your company won't fulfill its goals by posting its mission on the walls, and you won't keep your employees motivated in the longterm with just a great speech. As a leader, your actions are what's important. "When companies 'walk their talk' by investing in team members' capabilities, they're likely to inspire both loyalty and commitment," Peterson writes.

Invest in people over product.

An innovative product will help your company get ahead, but without employees who are committed and without customers who trust you, your product will go nowhere. "Great businesses aren't built on products or services--they're built on the people who create and use them," Peterson writes. It's important to invest in your employees' growth and character, as well as your customers' happiness and satisfaction.

Make meaning the endgame.

Your employees need to believe they have meaning and feel like they are working for a greater good. Making money should never be your company's "ultimate endgame," Peterson warns. Successful CEOs rally their troops behind a mission. "If people don't believe their work has meaning, they'll either lose heart or find work elsewhere--at great cost to the companies that can't keep them engaged," he writes.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Sep 23, 2013

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter,

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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